GEORGE TOWN, March 24 ― Penang has been officially declared a city by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.
Lim said the island state was effectively a city since January 1 this year and announced Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) president Datuk Patahiyah Ismail as the new mayor of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP).
“Penang leads again by appointing the first female mayor in the state,” Lim told a press conference at his office in Komtar.
The official ceremony of Patahiyah’s appointment and the official handing over of the declaration of the city status by the Penang Yang diPertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas will be held on March 31.
With the upgrade from municipality to city status, it will give the city council more authority such as in traffic management and enforcement.
The city council will also have more jurisdiction on the whole island which, including reclaimed lands, covers 305.773km of area.
The city status will also allow the council to open up an additional 388 vacancies for officers and staff on top of setting up four new departments, such as landscaping, heritage, enforcement and solid waste management and public cleanliness.
In line with the upgrade to city status, the state has lined a series of events from March 31 until April 26, including City Day Celebration on April 4.
The state has been applying for Putrajaya to grant George Town city status since January 2010 and the Cabinet approved the application last November.
Penang's capital, George Town, was already given city status by way of royal charter from Queen Elizabeth II on January 1,1957, but this was not acknowledged by Putrajaya.
The whole of Penang including the mainland has two municipal councils, which are MPPP on the island and the Seberang Perai municipal council (MPSP).